In Stiletto Killing, Woman Claims Self-Defense - FindLaw Blotter
FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

In Stiletto Killing, Woman Claims Self-Defense

A stiletto killing in self-defense -- where to begin with this grisly fashion faux pas? A research professor of women's health issues at the University of Houston was found dead early Sunday, after he was stabbed with a stiletto heel.

Alf Stefan Andersson, 59, and his girlfriend, Ana Lilia Trujillo, 44, were apparently fighting that morning. When officers arrived at Andersson's condo, Andersson was already dead with about 10 puncture wounds to his head -- some as deep as an inch and a half. There were more on his face, arms, and neck.

Trujillo claims that her stiletto stabbing was not an intentional killing, but rather was an act of self-defense, Houston's KHOU-TV reports.

Self-defense is generally known as the justified right to counteract violence or force, to prevent an injury or harm and to protect oneself. But there are a number of other circumstances that need to be looked at before determining whether or not it's a valid defense to an accident or killing.

Self-defense statutes vary by state, but the considerations are largely the same. Texas' self-defense statute is similar to others. Generally speaking, the law considers factors such as:

  • Was there an immediate threat? Self-defense is only justified when it is used to prevent imminent harm. The threat can be verbal or physical, but it must reasonably appear to be imminent. For example, a verbal threat of "I'm going to hit you tomorrow" would not suffice as an immediate threat.
  • Who was the initial aggressor? If the person using force as self-defense had provoked the attacker or initiated a fight first, for example, this gives the person far less leverage (if any) to use self-defense as justification for the attack. In Trujillo's case, if it's proven that she started the fight, then she would not be excused by reason of self-defense.
  • Was it a proportional response? Was the amount of force used proportional to the type of force it was meant to prevent? Killing someone with a gun in response to someone who was verbally insulting you, for example, would never suffice as self-defense. Verbal insults in general are not very good reasons to use self-defense because their severity is not considered that great.

It's not entirely clear what led up to the stiletto killing, but Trujillo, a Mexican national, was taken into custody. She has been charged with murder and is being held on $100,000 bail.

Related Resources: